On a recent holiday to Australia and South Africa, I made absolutely sure that my mobile data and data roaming were switched off on my mobile phone, and only accessed the internet from free wifi hotspots and relatives home wifi. On arriving in both countries, I received a text message telling me the cost of calls, texts and data usage for that country, followed by another message telling me that I would need to text back in order to get settings for my phone to use data and picture messaging services, and would need a PIN to get these services set up. On the basis that I did not want to use these services, I ignored the text message. However, on my return to the UK, I find that I have been charged a significant amount for 'using the internet outside the EU'.
Can anyone explain how this is possible?
When I questioned this with a Virgin mobile operative, he told me that I must have had data roaming turned on to receive their 'welcome' message, but other people have told me that this is BS because it is an SMS message. Who is right?
I also did not realise that the cost of receiving a call still applies even if you do not answer or reject a call. So, be aware that the endless cold calls that you get at home, will cost you a fortune when outside the EU, even if you do not answer.
Any replies would be much appreciated, as I am very angry about the situation and have had zip in response from Virgin!
Thank you for posting on the forum and welcome to the community.
Firstly the welcome message you received would have been a SMS but is a automated message sent when your handset registered on the foreign network. This does indicate that the roaming service was set up and active upon your arrival.
Depending on what handset you are using, they do run WiFi assistance in the background, this uses mobile data to boost WiFi if it is running at low speeds, this can lead to data charges.
Unconnected calls shouldn't be charged but if a Voicemail was left and you listened to the voicemail, this would also be charged as the voicemail would be stored on a server in the UK meaning a 'call' back to the Uk would be required to listen to this.
It is a Galaxy S6 Edge. All the incoming calls that I rejected (before going to answerphone) were charged for.
If I have mobile data and data roaming turned off (a message on my home screen the whole time I was away verified that data roaming was turned off) what else can I do to avoid internet usage charges?
The 'welcome' text message that I received on arrival in Australia advised me of all the various charges but did not mention that a rejected call would cost the same as if it was answered! Also, it said that I would have to reply to the text to get settings and probably use a PIN no. in order to access data services whilst there. Clearly not the case, as the largest charge I incurred for 'internet usage outside the EU' occurred at exactly the same date and time that the 'welcome' message appeared on my phone - some coincidence!
Thank you for confirming. As my colleague has advised, certain apps or settings will continue to run data services in the background, even if you have switched off the overall connection.
In order to ensure that nothing is able to run up usage, we would always recommend giving us a call so we can fully deactivate data roaming and data usage from our end. If any charges were then incurred, we'd have a record that you'd switched this off and we could apply a refund with no further investigation.